Making Art

I’ve written here before about what a boon to my writing art can be, but I don’t think I’ve ever talked about the programs I love using to create art. I primarily use three programs: Daz 3D, PhotoShop, and Topaz Studio.

Daz 3D is a 3D creation tool with plenty of assets that can be bought and manipulated. The program itself is free. The assets are not. (Though they do give you free starter assets.)

Photoshop is a seriously over-powered graphic manipulation tool that I’ve used since it was created, so I’m used to it. If I were advising someone else, I’d tell them that they don’t need Photoshop and that they should start with a less expensive program. But I do love Photoshop, so I’m not consistent.

Topaz is another graphic manipulation tool that provides quick post-production effects. I really, really don’t need this. But I love it.

With these programs, I can do quite a number of cool things. Take the image below, which I created recently. (You can see a close up of the woman’s face in the main image for this post.)

The boat, the starship, the characters, the ocean, and the land were all created with Daz 3D. The stars, the distant planet, the details of the sail, and the woman’s hair were painted on with Photoshop brushes. Once I had an image I basically liked, I pulled it into Topaz for some post-production processing and applied a vignette and a gaussian blur.

I could have done everything I just talked about in Daz 3D, but it would have been harder and wouldn’t have come out as nicely because one always has to balance the light and detail in these images. Also, the more one does in Daz 3D, the more power it requires to render.

Everything I did in Topaz Studio, I could have done in Photoshop. But Studio makes it easier and they have a number of presets that allow me to alter a look in a predictable fashion.

Yesterday’s image of a troll was pulled from DepositPhotos, but I wasn’t satisfied by the size of the background. So I pulled it into Photoshop, removed the background that was there, and used the Difference Clouds filter to create the look of aged vellum or an old time photo backdrop as a background. It took less than five minutes.

As my skills increase I can do more interesting work faster. But there is a constant tension between spending time with art and spending time writing. I don’t have the perfect balance yet. Perhaps I never will, but since I enjoy both, I don’t feel I have to choose.

Hope you are enjoying yourself as well. Be well, friends!

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